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Do violent video games increase aggression?


Earlier this year, an analysis of 130 studies found exposure to violent video games was associated with increases in aggressive thoughts and behavior, as well as decreases in empathy.

Now findings (.pdf) published in the current issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science suggest video games may stimulate aggression in men for an extended period of time.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned a group of 126 college students to play one of six different video games. For 20 minutes, half the group played violent games while the rest played non-violent titles. A select number of volunteers were told to think about how to improve their game performance over the next 24 hours. Participants' aggressiveness was tested the following day. According to the journal release:

For men who didn't think about the game, the violent video game players tested no more aggressive than men who had played non-violent games. But the violent video game playing men who thought about the game in the interim were more aggressive than the other groups. The researchers also found that women who played the violent video games and thought about the games did not experience increased aggression 24 hours later.

Photo by RebeccaPollard

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